Medical standards for drivers
This guidance is for occupational health professionals who are consulted about the medical fitness of workplace transport drivers. You can adapt the guidance to individual circumstances.
There is detailed advice on medical standards of fitness to drive in At a Glance published by the Drivers Medical Unit of the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA). However, the DVLA does not have responsibility for licensing workplace transport drivers if they do not drive on public roads. Always consult At a Glance if you have any doubt about an individual's fitness to operate workplace transport. It lists separate medical standards for:
- Group 1 (holders of ordinary driving licence); and
- Group 2 (heavy goods vehicle (HSV) and public service vehicle (PSV) licence holders).
Application of medical standards
You should always judge a person's fitness for operating a vehicle on a case-by-case basis. Your aim is to match the requirements of the driving task with the fitness and abilities of the driver.
For most work, a standard equivalent to Group 1 will be appropriate. In some cases, however, a more stringent standard may be required, for example when:
- moving highly toxic or explosive materials;
- working in a particularly demanding environment;
- working at night; or
- operating large, heavy vehicles.
In these instances some or all of the medical standards equivalent to Group 2 may be appropriate.
Assessing fitness individually should help ensure that people with disabilities are not disadvantaged. Some people with disabilities have developed compensatory skills. Reasonable adjustment to work equipment may enable a disabled person to operate workplace transport safely. However, you must always think about their competence in an emergency. The Equality Act 2010 is likely to apply.
Frequency of assessment
In line with DVLA requirements, HSE suggests you screen all existing and potential workplace transport operators for fitness before employment and at five-yearly intervals from age 45. Group 2 licences are renewable five-yearly from age 45 and, where an individual is both a workplace transport operator and holds a Group 2 licence these assessments can be made at the same examination. A workplace transport operator who continues after age 65 should have annual assessments for fitness.
We recommend assessment after an absence of more than one month or after a shorter absence if it is likely that the illness has affected the worker’s fitness to operate workplace transport. This provides positive confirmation of fitness to operate workplace transport in these circumstances.
If a GP signs a worker off as fit to return to work, this may not be the same as fitness to operate workplace transport.
We also recommend assessment if workplace transport operators, or their employers, suspect that they have developed a condition which may affect their continuing ability to operate workplace transport.
Employers and employees should agree requirements for medical screening and/or examination of employees in a written contract of employment.
Medication – whether prescribed or bought over-the-counter – may temporarily affect a worker's fitness to operate workplace transport. Workplace transport operators should
- ask their general practitioner or pharmacist about the effects any medication may have on their ability to drive safely;
- tell their employer if there is a risk of adverse effects which may compromise safety
They may need to stop operating workplace transport until the nature and extent of any side effects have been established.
Alcohol and illicit drugs
No worker should drive or operate vehicles or machinery at work if they have taken alcohol or illicit drugs.